Maryland Department of Commerce opens new defense technology transfer development office in Harford

The Aegis

Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill joined U.S. Army officers and elected officials from Cecil and Harford counties for a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the new Maryland Defense Technology Commercialization Center, called DefTech, in Havre de Grace Monday afternoon.

The new center is in Swan Creek Village on Route 40, where the Harford County Office of Economic Development also has its headquarters.

DefTech is part of a long-term regional effort to develop an innovation network around technology developed at Aberdeen Proving Ground’s U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, known as RDECOM, according to a Department of Commerce news release.

DefTech will provide resources and work space to companies and entrepreneurs who wish to commercialize technology developed at Aberdeen Proving Ground, according to the news release. The center will also offer workshops on best practices in commercialization, entrepreneurship and industry.

Those interested in licensing Army intellectual property may also access mentoring assistance through DefTech. In addition, technology showcases and outreach events are also planned, to highlight technology developments and encourage technology commercialization, according to the release.

Participating in the ceremony were Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor, commanding general of U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and senior general at APG; Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, commanding general of RDECOM; Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy; and Harford County Executive Barry Glassman.

“Engineers and scientists at Aberdeen Proving Ground are developing cutting-edge technology that can be put to broader use, benefiting our economy and our quality of life,” Gill said in a statement. “Through the DefTech Center, Maryland will provide the resources and direction entrepreneurs need to bring this technology to the commercial marketplace. The Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment and Harford and Cecil counties played critical roles in this endeavor, and we appreciate their support.”

DefTech is part of a long-term regional effort to develop an innovation network around RDECOM, according to the release.

“Harford County is pleased to work with the Maryland Department of Commerce and proud to be the home of this exciting new venture to commercialize technology developed at APG,” Glassman said in a statement. “By connecting these opportunities to businesses outside the gate, DefTech will enhance support for the installation and bring good jobs to Harford County and the region.”

Glassman’s administration has been boosting its efforts to help businesses access APG-developed technology, the county executive said last month. He said Friday the new DefTech office, which is fully staffed and funded through the state commerce agency, is an important component in those efforts.

“Cecil County looks forward to supporting this regional DefTech initiative,” McCarthy said. “Commercializing technology from Aberdeen Proving Ground is vital to continued economic growth in northeastern Maryland.”

Maryland Commerce has entered into MOUs with RDECOM labs at APG’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center; Edgewood Chemical Biological Center; and Army Research Lab, according to the news release. Each will operate technology transfer offices in the DefTech Center, strengthening the connection between the scientists and engineers on base and commercial industry.

The office is funded through a defense diversification grant Maryland Commerce received from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment, according to the news release. DefTech will be staffed by a team from Axcel Innovation LLC, led by Dr. Gary Evans, with Harford County providing space for the center as an in-kind match.

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